Inducing superconductivity in Weyl semimetal microstructures by selective ion sputtering
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By introducing a superconducting gap in Weyl or Dirac semimetals, the superconducting state inherits the nontrivial topology of their electronic structure. As a result, Weyl superconductors are expected to host exotic phenomena, such as nonzero-momentum pairing due to their chiral node structure, or zero-energy Majorana modes at the surface. These are of fundamental interest to improve our understanding of correlated topological systems, and, moreover, practical applications in phase-coherent devices and quantum applications have been proposed. Proximity-induced superconductivity promises to allow these experiments on nonsuperconducting Weyl semimetals. We show a new route to reliably fabricate superconducting microstructures from the nonsuperconducting Weyl semimetal NbAs under ion irradiation. The significant difference in the surface binding energy of Nb and As leads to a natural enrichment of Nb at the surface during ion milling, forming a superconducting surface layer (Tc ~ 3.5 K). Being formed from the target crystal itself, the ideal contact between the superconductor and the bulk may enable an effective gapping of the Weyl nodes in the bulk because of the proximity effect. Simple ion irradiation may thus serve as a powerful tool for the fabrication of topological quantum devices from monoarsenides, even on an industrial scale.
Bachmann , M D , Nair , N , Flicker , F , Ilan , R , Meng , T , Ghimire , N J , Bauer , E D , Ronning , F , Analytis , J G & Moll , P J W 2017 , ' Inducing superconductivity in Weyl semimetal microstructures by selective ion sputtering ' Science Advances , vol 3 , no. 5 , e1602983 . DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602983
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Work by N.N. and J.G.A. is partly supported by the Office of Naval Research under the Electrical Sensors and Network Research Division, Award No. N00014-15-1-2674, and by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s EPiQS Initiative through Grant GBMF4374. M.D.B. and P.J.W.M. acknowledge funding through the Max Planck Society. M.D.B. acknowledges studentship funding from the EPSRC under grant no. EP/I007002/1. N.N. is supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program under grant no. DGE 1106400. F.F. acknowledges support from a Lindemann Trust Fellowship of the English Speaking Union. R.I. is funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative. T.M. is funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft through GRK 1621 and SFB 1143. N.J.G. and E.D.B. were supported under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science. F.R. was supported by the Los Alamos National Laboratory Laboratory Directed Research and Development program. Data underpinning this publication can be accessed at http://dx.doi.org/10.17630/04280577-35c4-44e7-97d2-5c827ace7a4e.
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